Madame Web Review

REVIEW: Madam Web

Madame Web is Sony Pictures’ latest foray into the Marvel universe, following in the footsteps of 2022’s Morbius. Sadly Madame Web is another lacklustre attempt and even I’d go so far as saying it beats Morbius to the accolade of worst Sony superhero film to date.

The film opens in the 1970s in Peru, where heavily pregnant Constance Webb (Kerry Bishé) is searching for an elusive spider whose bite is meant to have healing properties. She’s working with Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), who betrays her the minute she finds one of these spiders, fatally shooting her and taking the spider. Constance is found by a local indigenous tribe, who try to save her using the healing powers of the spider, but she dies shortly after giving birth to Cassandra.

Madame Web Review

30 years later, Cassie (Dakota Johnson) is working as a paramedic in New York City alongside her partner Ben Parker (Adam Scott). They’re called out to an accident on a bridge, where an injured man is trapped inside a car teetering perilously on the edge. Cassie rescues the man but is trapped in the vehicle as it plunges into the river. She is officially dead for several minutes but is then revived by Ben, and soon after begins to experience strange precognitive visions. 

Meanwhile Ezekiel, also living in the city, has enhanced physical and precognitive powers thanks to the spider he stole. He had a vision of himself in the future where three young women dressed in spider costumes attack and kill him and is hell-bent on stopping and killing them first. He identifies them as Julia (Sydney Sweeney), Anya (Isabela Merced) and Mattie (Celeste O’Connor), and his assistant locates them using illegal technology, all on the same train at Grand Central Station.

Madame Web Review

Cassie too finds herself drawn to the same train, and her visions allow her to save all the girls from Sims before he can kill them. They flee the station, with Sims chasing after them in a custom spider suit, and Cassie hides the girls away from Sims’ prying technology. Determined to understand her new powers, Cassie recovers her mum’s old notebooks and heads to Peru to find answers, leaving the girls in Ben’s hands with Sims hot on their tail. 

I know very little about Madame Web as a character, or indeed any of the Spider-Women either, so I went into this film fairly blind. Unfortunately after watching it, I came out wishing I was blind. This is by far one of the worst superhero films I’ve ever seen. The entire film is badly written, from the script in general to the poorly fleshed-out characters. The one-liners and retorts range from being clichéd and stupid to downright cringeworthy, and aside from the scenes involving Adam Scott’s Ben, the dialogue too was dull and uninspired. 

Madame Web Review

I’m not convinced that Madame Web as a character is interesting enough to warrant a standalone film, at least not in the way she’s been portrayed here. We’ve seen countless films and shows about characters with precognitive abilities, and sadly they’ve been done so much better. It’s a shame that Sims as a villain with his unusual motivations actually make for a more compelling story than your usual ‘villain wanting to take over/destroy the world’ plot, but even he isn’t given the scenes he deserves. The film also isn’t helped by the storytelling mechanisms used either, there seems to be an emphasis on incredibly obvious foreshadowing that is incredibly cringeworthy and just plain stupid. 

These issues aren’t the fault of the cast though, as there are some notably great actors here, but even they can only do so much with such poor material. I also thought Dakota Johnson did well with what she was given, although I do have some doubts about her after the final scenes which were incredibly cheesy and I can’t quite pinpoint whether this was due to the material, acting or a bit of both.

I’d had my reservations about Madame Web after seeing early reviews, and sadly these were justified. By far the worst Sony superhero entry so far, completely forgettable and I’d rather watch Morbius again than sit through this a second time. 

Where to Watch

Madame Web | February 14, 2024 (United Kingdom) 3.7


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